Beer-Braised Irish Stew over Mash with Bacon

Hibernation-friendly, this recipe will warm your belly, and may just make the last stretch of winter tolerable.

First, get a 2 – 3 pound chuck roast and trim it, cut into chunks.  Coat them in EVOO, then dredge them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Divide them into two batches and brown them in butter in the bottom of a very hot Dutch or French oven.  While they are browning, clean and chop 5 – 7 large carrots.  The carrot pieces can be about an inch long.  Also, chop 2 large onions into wedges.  When the last batch of meat is browned, add 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced, and the onion.  Continue stirring until fragrant, then add all the meat back into the pot.

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Turn the heat down very low, then pour in about half of a beer.  Turn the heat back up and use a wooden spoon to move the beer around on the bottom of the pan and loosen all of the brown bits of flour, meat, onion and garlic.  Dark beers are preferred (I’ve used Guinness) but I just couldn’t pass up Sam Adams’ Cold Snap.  It was just too appropriate.  If you don’t care for beer (what???) you can use beef broth or beef stock to deglaze the Dutch oven.  Pour in the rest of the beer.

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Hopefully, you still have 5 more beers.  Or 11.   Open a can of diced bundundy and EVOO tomatoes and pour in, then toss in the carrots, several bay leaves, 5 – 10 splashes of Worcestershire and some thyme.  Fresh thyme is fabulous, but I didn’t have any, and it was -10 outside, so I added more pepper.

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Now, add 2 cups of beef stock or beef broth and put your stew in the oven (350 degrees F) with the lid on.  Check back in an hour.  If it needs more liquid, add water or stock.  It will thicken.  While the stew is cooking, cook about 4 pieces of diced bacon (1/2 inch pieces) or, better yet, brown a pound and keep the leftovers in your fridge for other recipes.  Peel your potatoes and put them on to boil.  When your potatoes are cooked, check the stew.  It should be ready to serve in about 2 or 3 hours, depending on how much you prepared.  Taste test a piece of meat and if it falls apart in your mouth, with no chewiness, it’s done!  If the stew is not quite thick enough, add a flour paste with water (1/2 cup) and flour (3 Tbs – stir with a whisk till no lumps) and stir it cautiously into the stew.  Put it back in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes.

Mash your potatoes.  While they are mashing, heat, in the microwave, a 1/2 cup of milk or half n half, or heavy whipping cream.  I went for the cream because I love it so much.  Do not overheat because the cream/butter combo will bubble over and make a huge mess in your microwave.  When the potatoes look mashed, start to drizzle in the warm butter/cream combo until the potatoes look like fluffy clouds on a warm summer day.  Yum.  Then add some salt, not too much, and finally, toss in the crispy bacon pieces.  Serve the potatoes with the meat, carrots and onions nestled down in the well and gravy pouring over the sides.

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Serve with homemade bread or rolls, to clean up any stray gravy, and you will crave this stew on cold, cold days for eternity.

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Beer-Braised Irish Stew over Mashers with Bacon

By February 20, 2015

The epitome of comfort food, this warm and filling beef stew recipe will give you a crazy good case of the cozies.  I love this stew, these flavors, and ease of prep.  To make in the crockpot, prep the veggies and dredge and cook the beef the night before.  Deglaze the skillet using the beer, then refrigerate.  In the morning, just assemble and set on low.  Peel and mash the potatoes, and dinner is ON.  And it is good.  very good.

Prep Time : 20 minutes. Cook Time : 2h 00 min Yield : 10 servings. Allergens :

Ingredients

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Toss the cubes with 1 Tbs of EVOO.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt and pepper together.  Dredge the meat in the flour mixture to coat.

Heat the butter in the Dutch oven til quite hot and add the meat, browning on all sides.  Add the onions and garlic.  Turn the heat down to add about half of the beer, then turn it back up.  Scrape the bottom of the oven to loosen all brown bit of flour, meat, garlic and onions.

After the loose bits are incorporated, add the rest of the beer, the carrots, beef stock, Worcestershire, thyme, tomatoes and bay leaves.  Cook on the stovetop for about 5 minutes, then cover and put the Dutch oven in the oven for 2 - 3 hours.

Check the stew in an hour, if it needs more liquid, add water or more beef stock.  If the stew needs thickened, add a flour and water mixture (whisk well, this is lump-free zone!) and add about 1o minutes before the stew is done cooking.  Check again in an hour and test a meat cube.  If the meat is fall-apart tender, it is done!

While the stew is in the oven, peel and cube the potatoes and begin to boil.  Usually this is when the stew has about 45 minutes left to cook.  Boil the potatoes til fork tender.

Dice and cook the bacon til crispy.  Drain on a paper towel.

Before draining the potatoes, warm the cream and butter in the microwave on 20 second intervals.  Do not overheat, the mixture will boil over.  Drain the potatoes, reserve a little of the potato water (about 1/4 cup).  Return all potatoes to the pot add transfer to the mixer bowl.  Beat until mashed, then drizzle in the warm cream/butter mixture until the potatoes are fluffy.  Add the salt then the crispy bacon.

Serve the stew over the mash.

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